Posted by: N.S. Palmer | November 6, 2012

You Have No Right to Complain

By N.S. Palmer

If you’re an American, then you have no right to complain about the outcome of today’s elections for political office.

If you don’t vote, then you have no right to complain. You had a chance to voice your opinion and you chose not to exercise it.

If you do vote, then you have no right to complain. You participated in the electoral process and agreed to accept the outcome as legitimate.

In either case, as the Transportation Security Agency says at U.S. airports, “Shut up and spread your legs.”

Here’s what will happen no matter who is elected. The U.S. government will:

  • Continue to wiretap your telephone and email, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
  • Continue to attack and occupy countries around the world that have not attacked and pose no threat to the United States, in violation of international law.
  • Continue to imprison and torture people without trial, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, statutory law, and international law.
  • Continue to drone-murder anyone anywhere on nothing but the U.S. president’s say-so, in violation of the U.S. Constitution, statutory law, and international law.
  • Continue to help Wall Street and trans-national corporations loot the American economy, in violation of every principle of justice except (as Thucydides said) “the strong do what they will, the weak suffer what they must.”

You have no right to complain. So shut up and spread your legs.

Copyright 2012 by N.S. Palmer. May be reproduced as long as byline, copyright notice, and URL ( are included.


  1. At what point in our history have these things not gone on? (Except the drone murdering, of course; no drones umpty-ump years ago. But there were still assassinations.) Not saying any of this is right, just saying that there’s nothing new under the sun.

    • Jim, you’re right of course, but it’s a matter of degree, and degrees can be important. Prior to World War II, the U.S. had a pretty good reputation in Middle Eastern countries because it left them alone except for trade and philanthropy. It left the aggression and imperialism mainly to the British and the Russians. After the Suez Crisis of 1956 demonstrated that Britain was no longer able to act as the West’s Middle Eastern hegemon, the U.S. government stepped into that role (having earlier acted mainly as a supporting player for the British, such as helping MI6 overthrow the democratically-elected government of Iran in 1953).

      There’s a logical fallacy called “the argument of the beard.” One whisker isn’t a beard. Neither are two. Neither are three. It is impossible to specify a point at which the addition of a single whisker transforms a non-beard into a beard. Therefore, nobody has a beard. When couched in terms of facial hair, that argument is obviously invalid, but the point is that differences of degree are real and they do sometimes make a big difference.

      • Good point, of course. I know so little of this history that I can’t comment on it intelligently. Whiskers? What whiskers? Of course, in a way it’s underinformed people like me that form a basis for this behavior continuing.

      • Jim, you’re very informed. We all know some things and don’t know others. I know some of the history of the Middle East because I studied it.

        When informed that the Vatican disapproved of Germany invading Poland, Hitler replied, “How many divisions does the Pope have?” Being informed is good but doesn’t give most of us any power to affect political events. In fact, maybe being informed isn’t so good: “Where ignorance is bliss, ’tis folly to be wise.”

  2. I live about 45 miles outside of the “right to complain” zone as the crow flies. Nevertheless I found the post illuminating, if a bit depressing. Are all those things true? Maybe. Probably. But I think there are some people you can vote for who’d limit or stop them, and others who’d just keep arguing they’re necessary evils. There are other “necessary evils” that haven’t been imposed on the United States just yet that would be if some people who might get elected this evening had their way. I still think there are choices to be made.

    Don’t give up the ship! (Forgetting, for the moment, that not long after James Lawrence uttered that as his last words, they gave up the ship.)

    • Hi, LP —

      You make a good point. And permit me to clarify: there are differences between Obama and Romney. Although they both support horrendous and immoral policies, Romney’s support is more enthusiastic and unprincipled. Obama is good, in a lukewarm way, on some issues where Romney is not. I prefer that Obama be re-elected.

      The differences in the legislative branch are more stark, in that half of the Republican Party seems to be either ignorant or insane. The Democrats’ worst flaw seems to be abject cowardice, so in the competition of undesirable qualities, the Republicans win. The situation reminds of what William Butler Yeats wrote: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” The Democrats certainly aren’t the best, but Republicans such as Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, and McConnell are certainly in contention for the title of the worst.

      • I really agree with the characterizations here. The Democrats have their principles, and they’re good, progressive ones that I (and I would hope THEY) think are more broadly beneficial to people than those of the Republicans… but for some reason, they’re afraid to wear them on their sleeves. Meanwhile, Republicans of various stripes can come right out and spew outrageous bilge like even girls raped by their fathers shouldn’t have recourse to abortion, or it’s a good thing to live in an economy where you need three jobs to get by… and they hardly ever get called on it anymore. A few papers raise a fuss but their base just nods and whites it down in the little red book.

  3. Sorry, that should be “WRITES it down”. The scroll on the text box wasn’t keeping up with me and I was typing blind. 😀

    • I dunno. I think in the context of describing the Republican base, “whites” it down is oddly appropriate.

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